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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

"Dog Eat Dog", crime and mayhem

Dog Eat Dog- Edward Bunker 

Second consecutive book on the criminal world, again rescued by Sajalín, an editorial that is really shaping and showing a very personal voice while it gives the opportunity to discover new (for us) and vibrant authors. Like the case of Malcolm Braly's with "On the Yard", here's a writer that really knew what he was written about. He was there (ex-convict), did that, suffered its consequences... but survived the mayhem.

Because aside an absorbing depiction of the main characters, in particular the complex and tortured Troy Cameron, the chaos and mayhem associated to this underground, outside crime life are the real highlights of "Dog Eat Dog". Bunker disarms the reader thanks to a simplicity and word economy that balances so well with a bleak voice. Don't expect a harsh novel, but also don't look for a book too keen on their characters. Bunker portrays the impossible last crime of this impossible outlaw trio and their accolades with a resonant verisimilitude. Everything reads true. Not just the jargon, but the sense of being incapable of  become part of society, the feeling that violence can appear at any time (Mad Dog McCain is another character brilliantly built in this sense), and that criminals can't have a live  they control. While reading, I couldn't help myself but think on several 70s movies. Then making a bit of research on Bunker's life, I realised his novels were transformed into films like "Straight Time" (with an enormous performance from Dustin Hoffman) or "Animal Factory". Both films, like "Dog Eat Dog" are brave to show an odd, disconnected human nature: the one that's forged in prisons.

Unfortunately, "Dog Eat Dog" doesn't have the most intriguing of plots, and despite being unquestionably addictive, with some dark and poignant passages described with a genuine and urgent narrative pulse, there are moments where the book decays. Like on a Tarantino film (Bunker was Mr.Blue in the overrated "Reservoir Dogs"), it is so full of speeches and dialogues that focus gets eventually displaced, so when the resolution arrives, some of the punch, some of the strength has been lost. A bit of shame really, because otherwise "Dog Eat Dog" would have been an absolute must. Nevertheless, a noteworthy author that I'm happy to have discovered.

SCORE: 6,25/10

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